Everyone knows the expression “sparks from the eyes fell”. This phraseological turn means a rapidly passing flicker in the eyes after a head injury. But what if such flickering and flashes of light occur against a background of complete calm, without aggressive external influence-suddenly a white flash appears in the field of view, which immediately goes out. What is it?
To begin with, this is an imaginary sensation. That is, it seems to a person that he sees these shining balls, lightning, spots. They may differ in color and intensity. But all this happens inside the eye. They are not connected to the outside light.
More often, outbreaks are short-lived, quickly pass. But in some pathologies, they occur for a long time, having significant brightness, clear boundaries and shape. Lightning and flashes in the eyes are an important symptom, untimely treatment can be a dangerous delay, reducing the chances of good vision in the future.
The patient who has these complaints needs careful observation by a doctor, and in some cases, emergency hospitalization and surgical intervention in the eyes!
Causes of occurrence.
Isolated and rare flashes of lightning before the eyes are quite harmless, but at the same time they can be an indicator of pathological conditions. These diseases include: posterior vitreous detachment, retinal detachment or rupture, inflammation of the retina or choroid, migraines, vascular diseases of the body, brain tumors, toxic poisoning, head injuries.
1) Posterior vitreous detachment. Our eye is filled inside with a gel-like substance, with a volume of only 3-4 ml and a mass of about 4 g.
The composition of the vitreous body is uneven, it consists of a loose central substance and voids filled with liquid, as well as collagen fibers, more dense in structure. The vitreous body is attached in two places (in the front part of the eye and the back), for the rest of the length it simply fits closely to the inner shell of the eye-the retina.
In most cases, during the aging process of the eye, there is a compaction of its layers and fibers in the body, its volume decreases. It begins to gradually peel off from the inner shell, there is a tension of the retina and this causes the appearance of flashes in the eyes. If the retinal tension is small, dynamic observation is sufficient, and no special treatment is required. But if there is a complete detachment of the vitreous body and a significant tension of the retina, then this condition becomes critical and dangerous. At any time, the retina itself may rupture or detach, with severe vision loss, often irreversible.
2) Retinal detachment — a pathological condition in which the thin inner layer of light-receiving photoreceptors peels off from the subsequent layers, and the space between them is filled with liquid. At the same time, the nutrition of these layers is disrupted, which leads to rapid loss of vision. The beginning of this pathological process is manifested by lightning and flashes in front of the eyes, the feeling of a curtain from above or below.
Retinal tears are the result of thinning of this membrane at the periphery (so-called peripheral dystrophy or degeneration of the retina), pulling (traction) effects from the vitreous body, weakening of the connection of the photoreceptor layer with neighboring retinal layers. Also, the rupture can occur due to a direct injury to the eye — a penetrating wound or a blunt blow, bruise.
Special attention should be paid to flashes in front of the eyes or lightning that occurred after a strong physical exertion or stress. This can cause the inner shell to detach.
Prevention of retinal detachment is the early detection of peripheral dystrophy and timely preventive intervention. For this purpose, laser photocoagulation is most often used, when exposure to laser beams limits dangerous areas, preventing their spread.
In case of an already occurred detachment or retinal rupture, the timeliness of surgical treatment is very important, since the long-term existence of the detachment leads to the death of photoreceptors. In such cases, pathological phenomena can already be irreversible!
3) Inflammation of the retina-retinitis. They may also show symptoms of flashes in front of the eyes. Inflammation rarely occurs in isolation, it is usually a consequence of a systemic disease. Since the retina and choroid are close together, the process very quickly involves these two layers, and it is difficult to say where the inflammation first began. Treatment is usually long, includes a conservative method (systemic and local antiviral, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory therapy) and surgical treatment.
4) Migraines. In some cases, before the onset of a headache, bright spots, lines, circles appear in front of the eyes, which can remain for quite a long time. At the same time, they look like flickering uneven or wavy lines.
This is the aura of a migraine
Immediately after it begins a long attack of severe pain in one half of the head. Sometimes the patient sees only a flash without pain. This condition is called ocular migraine, it occurs with neurological disorders. More often, the disease affects women over 30 years of age. As a result of cervical osteochondrosis, there is an incorrect functioning of a certain part of the brain and a decrease in the normal blood supply to the occipital lobes of the brain responsible for vision. Migraines can be triggered by a sharp change in the weather, fatigue, disturbed sleep patterns, strong odors, depressive states, bad habits (smoking, alcohol consumption), and the use of psychoactive substances. The inhabitants of the metropolis are at risk for increased stress, poor eating habits and excessive mental and physical stress. Such conditions require a comprehensive examination by an ophthalmologist and neurologist, lifestyle correction and treatment of concomitant diseases.
5) Vascular diseases of the body. In chronic diseases, such as hypertension or diabetes mellitus, short-term vascular spasms (including retinal vessels) may occur. Then patients notice short-term flashes and flickering dots in front of their eyes, more noticeable in the dark. Correcting blood sugar levels and normalizing blood pressure reduces these symptoms.
6) Brain tumors. With the development of neoplasms in the occipital lobe of the brain, glowing spots of various colors and shapes may appear in front of the eyes. This pathology is very serious, requires the supervision of neurosurgeons and oncologists.
7) Poisoning with toxic substances or taking narcotic substances can cause lightning and flashes in front of the eyes. For example, moderate carbon monoxide poisoning disrupts visual perception, which manifests itself in this way. The adoption of psychoactive substances, can provoke hallucinations, accompanied by flashes. With any poisoning, the help of a specialist is required, since prolonged intoxication can lead to heart failure and even death.
8) Head or eye injuries. At the time of injury, there may be short-term flashes and lightning, up to a short-term loss of vision. An eye injury often leads to changes in the retina that require urgent ophthalmic care.
Blunt trauma to the occipital region is especially dangerous, since there are not only visual centers, but also areas responsible for the vital functions of the body (respiratory, cardiovascular).
The first specialist that the patient should visit is an ophthalmologist. Since lightning and flashes in front of the eye in most cases are a manifestation of the pathology of the internal structures of the eye. With the long-term existence of such conditions, a complete cure may not be possible, which is why treatment should be immediate. The main thing is to exclude emergency conditions, such as retinal detachment, vitreous body or ruptures of the inner membranes. In other cases, it may also be necessary to monitor doctors of other specialties: therapist, endocrinologist, neurologist.
Take care of your eyesight and be healthy!